She Recovered From A
Persistent Vegetative State

This is a partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, November 5, 2003
BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the Back of the Book segment tonight, the parents of Terri Schiavo are hoping for a miracle. Their daughter has been in a vegetative state for 13 years, as you know. Ms. Schiavo's husband wants her to die, and so do many in the State of Florida.
But listen to this. In 1995, Kate Adamson was in a similar position. She was in a vegetative state after suffering a stroke.
For almost 70 days, she was totally unresponsive. Doctors finally pulled her feeding tube. And, for eight days, she was dying.
Then Ms. Adamson began responding on her own. Doctors quickly put the feeding tube back in, and she recovered.
Joining us now from Los Angeles is Kate Adamson and her husband, Steven Klugman. Ms. Adamson has written a book called Kate's Journey: Triumph Over Adversity.
So, in the Schiavo case, Ms. Adamson, you must have very strong feelings about that.
KATE ADAMSON, AUTHOR, KATE'S JOURNEY: TRIUMPH OVER ADVERSITY: Yes, I do. I have a huge prospective on what Terri is going through.
O'REILLY: And what would that be?
ADAMSON: Well, especially after having gone through this myself and the doctors assuming that I was in a vegetative state, when, in fact, I was totally aware of what was going on around me.
O'REILLY: Could you hear -- could you hear people and see them and all?
ADAMSON: I could see and hear everything going on around me, and I had no way...
O'REILLY: Really?
ADAMSON: ... of communicating with anyone.
O'REILLY: So you were like paralyzed in every way, but you could hear...
ADAMSON: Completely paralyzed.
O'REILLY: You could hear the words, you knew your husband was in the room when he was there and all of that?
ADAMSON: Exactly. I knew what I wanted to say. I had -- I was completely paralyzed. I had no way of communicating at all.
O'REILLY: This is amazing. It's like an Edgar Allen Poe story. So when they took...
ADAMSON: It's like a nightmare.
O'REILLY: When they took the feeding tube out, what went through your mind?
ADAMSON: When the feeding tube was turned off for eight days, I was -- thought I was going insane. I was screaming out don't you know I need to eat. And even up until that point, I had been having a bagful of Ensure as my nourishment that was going through the feeding tube. At that point, it sounded pretty good. I just wanted something. The fact that I had nothing, the hunger pains overrode every thought I had.
O'REILLY: So you were feeling pain when they removed your tube?
ADAMSON: Yes. Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. To say that -- especially when Michael [Schiavo] on national TV had mentioned last week that it's a pretty painless thing to have the feeding tube removed. It is the exact opposite. It was sheer torture, Bill.
O'REILLY: It's just amazing.
ADAMSON: Sheer torture. And they're having it ripped out.
O'REILLY: All right. How did you come out of this now? How did the doctors know to put the tube back in?
ADAMSON: Well, first of all, having Steven as a strong advocate and not only being an attorney but yelling and screaming and insisting, insisting, that they do that.
O'REILLY: All right, but -- so your husband, an attorney, Steven, insisted, and you...
O'REILLY: What did you get, a court order, Counselor, to get the tube back into your wife's system.
STEVEN KLUGMAN, HUSBAND OF STROKE VICTIM: I threatened to sue the whole world, and I told them that their best course was to try to save her, and maybe they wouldn't get sued...
O'REILLY: OK. So they finally...
KLUGMAN: ... and they finally decided that was...
O'REILLY: ... listened to you after eight days. They put the tube back. And then how long did it take for you to come out of the vegetative state?
ADAMSON: Well, it was a matter of time, and, of course, when you're in that position, I had no conception of time at all. I wasn't able to start eating food again. I had to start on pureed foods and still have the feeding tube turned on because of my weight loss.
KLUGMAN: There was a good week to two weeks where she was aware, she was communicating, and I couldn't get anyone to believe me. Just like the...
O'REILLY: How did you know?
KLUGMAN: ... the family.
O'REILLY: How did you know?
KLUGMAN: But I would -- I'd ask her to blink once if she could understand me and she would.
O'REILLY: Well, I mean that's pretty obvious. A doctor comes in, and you do the demonstration.
KLUGMAN: The doctor -- well, she would be so weak after blinking once or twice, she couldn't do it again for an hour or more.
O'REILLY: I see.
KLUGMAN: These people are so weak.
ADAMSON: You know, Bill, I had to blink every -- that's how I communicated, was blinking.
O'REILLY: Yes, but how long did it take you once they reinserted the feeding tube into you, Kate, for you then to convince the doctors that you were aware?
ADAMSON: Well, I couldn't convince the doctors myself. I couldn't speak. I had no ability. So Steven had to be my advocate.
O'REILLY: OK. But how long did it take?
Mr. Klugman, how long did it take?
KLUGMAN: Two to three weeks.
O'REILLY: OK. So two to three weeks, she came back on the feeding, and then she came out of the vegetative state?
KLUGMAN: She was never in the vegetative state. That was just...
O'REILLY: OK, OK, but she came...
KLUGMAN: ... their description.
O'REILLY: When did she get cognizant that everybody knew she was functioning?
KLUGMAN: She was -- she was probably always cognizant. She was, in fact, operated on at one point, and they treated her as though she was a vegetable, didn't give her enough anesthetic, and she felt the entire operation.
All right. I'm going to try one more time. When did you come out of it so that you could speak and all of that? How long did it take?
ADAMSON: Well, it wasn't until I was in acute rehab for the three months and during that whole process.
O'REILLY: Three months. All right.
ADAMSON: So, in fact, I was on a week to week basis with -- in terms of how I was recovering whether the insurance company would still keep me in there.
O'REILLY: Well, it's an amazing, amazing story, and nobody could say whether the Schiavo case would be that way, but, you know, to hear this makes everybody think.
KLUGMAN: It's possible.
O'REILLY: Thank you very much, both of you, for coming on The Factor. We appreciate it.
ADAMSON: Thank you.
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